Ramekin is thought to come from a Dutch word for "toast" or the German for "little cream."




Ramequin, Ramekin dish.


(ramə kin)[RAM-ih-kihn]ræməkin


English Noun




A type of dish




French Ramequin from Low German ramken, diminutive of cream, circa 1706. middle Dutch rammeken (cheese dish) dialect variant of rom (cream), similar to old English ream and German rahm. Ancient French cookbooks refer to ramekins as being garnished fried bread.


1. A food mixture, (casserole) specifically a preparation of cheese, especially with breadcrumbs and/or eggs or unsweetened pastry baked on a mould or shell.

2. With a typical volume of 50-250 ml (2-8 oz), it is a small fireproof glass or earthenware individual dish similar in size and shape to a cup, or mould used for cooking or baking and serving sweet or savoury foods.

3. Formerly the name given to toasted cheese; now tarts filled with cream cheese.

4. A young child usually between the ages of 3 months and 11 years exhibiting a compulsion to force or "ram" their head into various objects and structures.

These days, a ramekin is generally regarded as a small single serve heatproof serving bowl used in the preparation or serving of various food dishes, designed to be put into hot ovens and to withstand high temperatures. They were originally made of ceramics but have also been made of glass or porcelain, commonly in a round shape with an angled exterior ridged surface. Ramekins have more lately been standardized to a size with a typical volume of 50-250 ml (2-8 ounce) and are now used for serving a variety of sweet and savoury foods, both entrée and desert.

They are also an attractive addition to the table for serving nuts,dips and other snacks. Because they are designed to hold a serving for just one person, they are usually sold in sets of four, six, or eight. Ramekins now are solid white, round, with a fluted texture covering the outside, and a small lip. Please bear in mind that whatever you ask for them on Internet auction sites, someone is still getting the same thing in an op shop for peanuts.

However, there are hundreds of decorative ramekins that came in a variety of shapes and sizes. They came in countless colours and finishes and many were made by our leading artists and ceramicists. My collection has ramekins with One handle only, fixed to the body at one point only. If it has no handle, it is a bowl. If it has two, it is a casserole dish. But the glory day of the Australian Studio Art ramekin is well and truly over. See some here, ask questions or leave answers.

P.S. Remember, just as real men don't eat quiche, real ramekins don't have lids or two handles. Also remember, two handles makes it a casserole dish. Also, please note If it aint got a handle, it's just a bowl.

P.P.S. To all you cretins who advertise your ramekins by associating them with "Eames" or "Eames Era". Get your hand off it, you are not kidding anyone. The Eames people have told me that they never made ramekins.

P.P.P.s To all the illiterates out there in cyberspace, just as there is no "I" in team, there is no "G" in Ramekin. I am the Rameking, they are ramekins.

If you have a set of Grandma's ramekins at the back of a kitchen cupboard, have a look through the site, maybe you will identify them. Thank-you for looking.

There are many of you out there that have knowledge of Australian pottery. Please let me know if you have anything that I can add to the notes. It is important to get the information recorded. You probably know something that nobody else does.

Please note that while your comments are most welcome, any that contain a link to another site will no longer be published.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mystery Maker Marked "Rona Murphy"



Rona Murphy
Rona Murphy
Inscribed signature  “Rona Murphy” to base
Heavy clay, hand thrown bowl.  Flat base with spur marks.  Thick green exterior colour with clear glaze over entire exterior.  Shaped and folded tab handle with large section attached to side of bowl.

Production Date
Possibly late 1930s
Length (with handle)
Waverly Antique Centre 29 Oct 2011
Rameking Reference Number
RMU 001
RMU 002
RMU 003
RMU 004

Little information on her at this time.  Rona is believed to be Victorian and worked possibly in the late 1930s.  She appears to have had a small output of well-made domestic pottery, mainly vases with a few kitchen canisters and these ramekins.  Clay appears to be from Preston quarry.  No information in standard reference.  It could be that Rona found a niche for her wares during the great depression when other potteries were closing down.  She appears to have had a limited colour range, mainly dark green exterior with dark harlequin glaze to interior.  Similar colour to that used by Stanislaw Halpern on some of his jugs.  Unusual handles, similar to some Picton Hopkins, being a flat section folded and attached down the side.  There are two Rona Murphies on the Electoral Rolls, one a Typist, the other Home Duties.  Which is which?  Any other information would be appreciated.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Diana (U63 Variation)

Diana Pottery Marrickville
Diana Pottery Marrickville
Stamped “Australian Guaranteed Ovenproof.  No decoration.
Slipware straight sided bowl curving inward near base to circular unglazed footring.  Plain white interior and pale yellow exterior.  Press moulded handle made to appear like curved U63 design.

Production Date
Early 1970s
Length (with handle)
Dromana Antique Market
Rameking Reference Number

Eric Cornwell Lowe was born in Melbourne in 1901 at East Brunswick, Victoria.  At the time, a number of potteries operated in the area, but Eric’s father (Arthur Horace Lindsay Lowe, 1868-1938) was a Salesman and later an Agent.  His mother was Amy Beatrice Catterall (b1871).  Eric moved to Sydney and married Vera Louisa Christopher in 1932, they do not appear to have had children.   Arthur and Amy moved up in the world, moving from Brunswick to Moonee Ponds, then to Caulfield, an affluent Melbourne suburb.

Young Eric was quite entrepreneurial in his late teens as he began importing cut glass and crockery from Germany and Czechoslovakia.  Timing was not on his side as this began in 1939.  This company was called “Eric C Lowe Pty Ltd.”   “Manufacturers of Utility and Fancy Earthenware”.

The shareholders of this company were;

·        Eric C Lowe
·        Mrs Vera Louise Lowe
·        John Christopher
·        Winston McKenley Christopher
·        Brian Winter LeQueene
·        Josephine Mary Permewan (Victoria)
·        Ralph Rankin  (Victoria)

Directors of the company were

·        E.C.Lowe
·        V.L.Lowe
·        J.Christopher
·        W.M.Christopher
The business was incorporated in New South Wales on the 11th of July 1939, having previously been carried on by Eric as a sole trader, and was given 401 ordinary and 2665 preference shares when incorporated. 

Eric had a large amount of stock on hand and could not sell it due to the stigma now attached to German goods.  So, during the Second World War (1941) Eric and Vera got Government contracts to produce ceramic wares (cream ware cups and mugs and pots and jugs) for the armed forces. Eric did not join up as many of his contemporaries did.  Many industries supplying the armed forces were “protected industries” and many of their employees were exempt from military service.  Most potteries at that time were geared for the war effort and the demand from Australian and American troops was enormous. 

Seen after the company incorporated, in 1941, Eric began making art pottery.  This did not last long as wartime restrictions meant that this was prohibited in May 1942.  They began making teapots, jugs, cups and mugs around May 1942.  During wartime, price control measures meant that Eric had to submit financial returns to the Commonwealth government.  This fixed the price that Eric could charge for the output. Thankfully, these records still exist.  These give detailed accounts of all the itemised accounting for the business. 

These are notable for showing that Fowler, Bakewell and Mashman were making similar items for the services.  Still, this did not stop the business from making a profit of 39.3% in 1940/41 and 26.0% in 1941/42.  Profits gradually dropped and the next year they only made about 13%.  In 1943/44, the profit was down to 10.7%.  The next year produced a deficit of £411.  Late in 1944, Eric had to repay 25 of his workers back pay because of a Womens Employment Board decision that he had underpaid them.  These were all women as most men had by then enlisted. 

Although born in Victoria, his pottery was started at 122-126 Marrickville Road, Marrickville, Sydney and it continued there until the early 1970s, when cheap copies and imports caused a drastic decline in sales and its eventual closure.  The giant Fowler works were already established there works in the area because of the clay found in the area, and later, Studio Anna commenced nearby.  They also purchased kaolin from the Pottery Clay Works for £3.15/- per ton.

In November 1945, a fire started by a lime kiln spread to the works and quickly destroyed much of the factory. Fire is an occupational hazard in potteries and brick works but nevertheless it was a devastating blow.  The works had been extensively refurbished the previous year.  Contracts from the Services were drying up and production had to revert to peace time items.  When the war finished, Arthur began had rebuilt and began making domestic pottery for the homes of the families of returned services people.  This included a large range of slip cast vases in a variety of gloss and matte colours, sizes and shapes, or sprayed to create a speckled texture,

Their output included such products as ceramic horse-head book ends, several other animal figures, (a pair of greyhounds was a popular product) tableware, utility and kitchenware. Over 200 different shapes were produced during their lifetime.  Some products were sold using the name “Hollywood.”  By the early 1950s the company had more than 70 employees and were producing a large range of hand painted articles which included "Waltzing Matilda" musical mugs and jugs, and produced bright "gumnut" pots with pale green and brown glazes.

The musical mugs and jugs played when lifted, but the movements were expensive and difficult to obtain, being imported from Switzerland, so many mugs and jugs that should have had movements were sold without at reduced prices. In the 1960s Diana diversified their range further into decorated oven and kitchenware, hand painted with maple, poinsettia, cornflower, blackberry, wattle and flannel flower designs.  In the 1960's, a variety of small slip cast vases hand decorated in gold were made for a gift shop in the Imperial Arcade Sydney which were marketed under the name 'Imperial'.  Although these are not ramekins, I have some of them.

After the Second World War there had been a massive increase in the number of potteries around Australia. Commercial, studio and backyard potteries were being established in the suburbs of most major cities and by 1955 there were over 12,000 people working in the quarrying and manufacture of clay related industries.  This also included brickworks.  After the war, Eric had changed production to domestic pottery and throughout the 1950s, Diana was the largest and most prolific pottery in New South Wales, producing hundreds of different products and designs, many hand painted. Native wildflowers were a popular motif.

Among them, as mentioned, the Flannel Flower, an iconic Sydney plant used in imagery and art since colonial times.  Sometimes known as the Sydney Flannel Flower, it is usually known as the Flannel Flower and was chosen to be the New South Wales floral emblem for the Centenary of Federation (1901-2001).  It is found in the sandstone national parks in the greater Sydney area and can be sometimes found in spectacular drifts.  The flowers are about 50mm in diameter and appear in Spring.  The stunning Pink Flannel Flower is rarely seen as it only appears in the summer following a bushfire.

Soon after the end of the Second World War, Eric began advertising for more staff and soon had a thriving business making home-wares for the thousands of ex-servicemen starting their families.  His pottery even had a staff canteen, far more advanced than many of the other one or two person companies operating on a shoestring budget.  In the mid 1960s, they (Diana Pottery (Vic) Pty Ltd) had a shop in Melbourne at 343 Little Collins Street. 

The potteries around Australia employed thousands of people, many given their start in Australia following migration from Europe after the second word war.  Eric Jungvirt who started Studio Anna was one who started with Eric at Diana.  I think it fair to say that you would have had a piece of Diana pottery in yours or your parents home at some stage, probably a ramekin, a mixing bowl or a vase. At their peak, Diana employed around 70 people but this had declined to around 30 by 1970.  They continued on for a few more years calling their output “Dana”. 

In Australia, the Whitlam Government had cut tariffs without warning by 25 percent in 1973.  1974 saw an increase in imports of 30 percent.  By mid-1974, Australia was in an economic slump with unemployment rising significantly.  Short-term credit rates rose to extremely high levels and this caused prices to spike sharply, and according to Government figures, inflation topped 13 percent for over a year between 1973 and 1974.  On top of these problems, wage parity was legislated for female workers meant an increase in wages costs.It was in this climate that Diana fell on hard times and ceased production.  Eric was by then in his early 50s.

Much of the Dana ceramics were copies of the later “Nefertiti” ramekins, with a rough textured (Avocado) exterior and a brown glazed lip and interior. They also produced wares using the names Hollywood, Imperial and just plain Australian.  Check out the Diana website for lots more.   Also, a potter at Bendigo Pottery told me that the conveyor that moves the pottery around the Bendigo Pottery today was said to have come from the old Diana Pottery after it closed in 1974.  The entire Marrickville site consisting of the Fowler, Diana and Studio Anna potteries was demolished and subdivided in 1982.  Eric died in Sydney NSW on the 10th February 1977 age 76.  Vera lived on for many years.


By definition, a Ramekin without a functional handle is just a bowl.  A handle makes contact with the body of the ramekin at one or sometimes two places on the same side of the body.  The handle of a ramekin creates its point of difference and can be unique to a studio or maker.  The bowl of a ramekin is sometimes quite plain so the handle creates an opportunity for the potter to give visual balance or distinctive design to their work. 

A handle must be comfortable to use because a ramekin is, first and foremost, a functional object.  The handle should also be strong enough to support the ramekin.  Some potters use other materials for their handles, ie wood, bamboo etc; ramekins do not.  Ramekin handles are made from the same material as the bowl.  Although a handle should be strong, it should not be seen as a method of holding the ramekin.  It is only a support for the thumb.  The ramekin should be cupped in the palm of your hand with your thumb resting over the handle.

Handles are of two main types, those moulded during the making of the bowl, flowing from the lip, or a lug (either a knob, tab, tube or a finger shape that is made separately then later attached to the bowl.  Moulded handles tend to be smaller tab types that are usually flat and relatively the same thickness as the body of the bowl.  Lug handles can be any size or shape, solid or hollow, round, tubular, flat (or strap).

Lug handles are attached to a section of scored area on the body, they are made separately and then applied to the body.  The handle is first shaped to the potter's desired form.  Before the handle dries, (and handles dry faster than the body) the ends of the handle and connecting spot on the body is scored and lightly moistened; a technique known as "scratch and slipping." The handle is pressed onto the bowl with just enough pressure to allow the potter to complete the attachment by smoothing the join.   In rare cases, a handle is fixed to the body in a hole through the side of the bowl.

The most common form is a strap handle, made from a flat section of clay, then fixed to the bowl.  Many strap handles are folded to form a loop, either horizontal (Duldig) or vertical (Wilton).  Handles can be either solid (Ellis, Elischer) or perforated (Gluck, Warrandyte Pottery) so they can be hung on a wall hook.  Some are extended down the bowl to give additional strength to the bowl at the join (Picton Hopkins).

Attached handles can be cut from a slab, rolled into a coil or pulled from a wedge of clay and are usually of a similar thickness to the body to reduce problems of shrinkage and expansion.  For this reason, mass-produced ramekin handles are usually hollow and have a small hole to the underside or outer end to balance pressure during firing, especially those that are knob ended and closed at the outer end.  Handles should be made and attached before the "Leather-Hard" stage is reached.
Pulled handles are wetter and need more drying time than strap or coil handles.   Ramekin handles need to be dried slowly. Because the handle dries faster than the body of the ramekin, even well placed handles can crack at the joint or in their arch if dried too quickly.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Jeannette Glass Company
“Glasbake” moulded into banner logo to base.  “U.S.A. Microwave Safe” to base
Press moulded milk glass bowl  curving inwards to footring base.  Stem handle with knob end.
Production Date
Between 1961 and 1973
Length (with handle)
Salvo Store, Noble Park, Vic. 18-Oct-2011
Rameking Reference Number
GLA 001
GLA 002

Originally, Glasbake ramekins were made from borosilicate glass. The composition was changed for some products to tempered soda lime glass that is now the most common form of glass used in glass bakeware and has a higher mechanical strength so is less vulnerable to breakage when dropped (the leading cause of breakage in glass bakeware).    It began producing under the “Glasbake” brand to compete with PYREX, although it was originally advertised as “Glasbak”.

They were made in the town of Jeannette Pennsylvania, once the worlds’ largest glass manufacturer, thanks to a deposit of natural gas, discovered by salt miners.  Shifting world markets means that now only two glass-makers are left; St George Crystal, producing giftware, tableware, lighting components, projection television components, bowls, chandeliers and Christmas ornaments; and; Jeannette Specialty Glass.

These ramekins are made from a glass-ceramic.  The manufacture of this material involves a process of controlled crystallization.  NASA classifies it as a “Glass-Ceramic” product.  Glass-ceramic materials share many properties with both glass and ceramics.  They have an amorphous phase and one or more crystalline phases and are produced by a “controlled crystallization” in contrast to a spontaneous crystallization, which is usually not wanted in glass manufacturing.   Glass-ceramics usually have between 30% [m/m] and 90% [m/m] crystallinity and yield an array of materials with interesting thermomechanical properties.

Glass-ceramics are mostly produced in two steps: First, glass is formed by a glass manufacturing process.  The glass is cooled down and is then reheated in a second step.  In this heat treatment, the glass partly crystallizes.  In most cases nucleation agents are added to the base composition of the glass-ceramic.  These nucleation agents aid and control the crystallization process. Because there is usually no pressing and sintering, glass-ceramics have, unlike sintered ceramics, no pores.  A wide variety of glass-ceramic systems exists, e.g. the Li2O x Al2O3 x nSiO2-System (LAS-System), the MgO x Al2O3 x nSiO2-System (MAS-System), the ZnO x Al2O3 x nSiO2-System (ZAS-System), glass-ceramics made of Lithium-Disilicate and machinable glass-ceramics with Phlogopite as basic system.  (Thanks Mr Wikipedia for that last bit)

The McKee Glass Company was founded in 1843 (As McKee and Brothers Glass) in Pittsburgh, PA. The company was eventually purchased by Jeannette Glass in 1961. McKee Glass not only made items under its own name but also produced under the "Glasbake" name. The Jeannette Bottle Works Company was established by the Crock family in 1887, and got its start producing hand made bottles, in Jeannette, Pennsylvania. Originally known as the Jeannette Shade and Novelty Company.  In 1898 the Jeannette Bottle Works was succeeded by the Jeannette Glass Company.  The Crock family owned the company until 1976 when Ted and Kathleen Sarniak purchased it.

With the advent of the O’Neill semi-automatic bottle-blowing machine in 1899, Jeannette soon found itself producing wide mouth jars, relishes and other useful pressed glass items like automobile headlamp lenses.  In 1970 Jeannette Glass Co. became Jeanette Corporation.  From its opening until the early 1900s the company focused on making handcrafted wide mouth bottles, dishes, automobile headlight lenses, druggist bottles, and pickling / canning jars. In 1917 Jeanette expanded its operations to include prism glass, which neatly lead to creating depression era kitchen pieces for which the company is still known. 

By 1904 the company was involved in producing items for medical and home use. Jeannette continued to grow and expand and by 1924 they began producing the lovely tableware we call Depression Glass today. This innovative company was one of the forerunners in producing the machine made, colored pressed glassware, we call Depression Glass today.  Many of the Depression Glass patterns that we know and love today were produced by the Jeannette Glass Company.

Some of the more popular patterns produced were Adam, Anniversary, Cherry Blossom, Doric, Doric and Pansy, Floral Poinsettia, Floragold, and Iris.  Jeannette established its hold on the kitchen item market early in the Depression Era, designing and producing many kitchen items in pink, green, crystal, and ultramarine. They were one of the major producers of Jadite and Delphite Glassware. Many of the most desirable Depression Glass kitchen items were made by The Jeannette Glass Company. 

After the War the Jeannette Glass Company, like many others, experienced a slow down.  In 1961 Thatcher Glass purchased the firm, later changing the name to Jeannette Corporation Not all of Jeannette’s glassware bore a maker’s mark. The vast majority that did were various kitchen glasses.  The mark to look for is a square or triangle with a capital J in the middle.  In 1969 they acquired Royal China and Harker Pottery and continued to produce glassware for both wholesale and retail businesses until 1983 when the Company closed its doors.

Monday, October 10, 2011



Anchor Hocking Fire-King
Fire-King Ovenware Made in USA moulded into centre of base
Plain press-moulded milk glass with orange mustard lustre (peach lustre) colour to exterior heat resistant glass bowl with ribbed sides sloping inward to circular base and pronounced footring.  Stem handle angled upward from outside of bowl with scroll knob end.   
Production Date
 1970s to 1980s
Length (with handle)
MS Store Glen Waverly

Not Australian but found in many Australian homes in the 1960s and 1970s, Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation is a manufacturer of glassware. The Hocking Glass Company was founded in 1905 by Isaac Jacob (Ike) Collins.   That company merged with the Anchor Cap and Closure Corporations in 1937.  Anchor Hocking is primarily located in Lancaster Ohio.  (Plant No 44 is located in Monaca Pennsylvania.) The first glassware they produced as the Anchor Hocking Glass Company was Royal Ruby in 1939. They manufacture many brands of glass.

From the 1940s until 2000, Anchor Hocking produced an extensive line of heat resistant oven glassware called Fire-King. The company's lines included not only dinnerware but also a plethora of glass kitchen items, breakfast sets, candy dishes, range sets, vases, and more. There are many ovenware patterns including Currier & Ives, Gay Fad Studios, Jade-ite, and Sapphire Blue.  Fire-King Jade-ite has really become popular today. It has propelled Fire-King to the collecting forefront.

Fire-King is an Anchor Hocking brand of glassware similar to Pyrex and made of low expansion borosilicate glass that is ideal for oven use.  Fire-King was originally produced in the 1940s for everyday use, rather than display. It was often sold in bags of flour as a promotional item or was given away at gas stations.  Fire-King could also be purchased at local grocery and hardware stores.  Today, Fire-King is an affordable collectible found in antique stores, garage sales and op shops, as well as on the Internet.  The Fire-King line includes bowls, casseroles, cups, plates, serving platters, creamers, vases and more. Fire-King is not designed for dishwasher use, which can dull its original lustre and remove any applied paint decorations.

Originally, Fire-King was made from borosilicate glass. The composition was changed for some products to tempered soda lime glass that is now the most common form of glass used in glass bakeware and has a higher mechanical strength so is less vulnerable to breakage when dropped (the leading cause of breakage in glass bakeware). 

These ramekins are made from a glass-ceramic.  The manufacture of this material involves a process of controlled crystallization.  NASA classifies it as a “Glass-Ceramic” product.  Glass-ceramic materials share many properties with both glass and ceramics.  They have an amorphous phase and one or more crystalline phases and are produced by a “controlled crystallization” in contrast to a spontaneous crystallization, which is usually not wanted in glass manufacturing.   Glass-ceramics usually have between 30% [m/m] and 90% [m/m] crystallinity and yield an array of materials with interesting thermomechanical properties.

Another Australian Pottery, Studio Anna was also catering for the cookware market at the same time.  Introduced by owner Karel Jungvirt around the early 1960s, possibly as an Australian answer to Fire-King and Corning Ware (which came out in 1958), a range of decorated cookware he called Pyro-Ceracraft was developed. Available in a wide selection of designs and described as oven tableware, this range of heat resistant ceramics included casserole dishes, pie dishes and ramekins and was designed to be attractive enough to be brought straight from the oven to the dinner table.

Glass-ceramics are mostly produced in two steps: First, glass is formed by a glass manufacturing process.  The glass is cooled down and is then reheated in a second step.  In this heat treatment, the glass partly crystallizes.  In most cases nucleation agents are added to the base composition of the glass-ceramic.  These nucleation agents aid and control the crystallization process. Because there is usually no pressing and sintering, glass-ceramics have, unlike sintered ceramics, no pores.  A wide variety of glass-ceramic systems exists, e.g. the Li2O x Al2O3 x nSiO2-System (LAS-System), the MgO x Al2O3 x nSiO2-System (MAS-System), the ZnO x Al2O3 x nSiO2-System (ZAS-System), glass-ceramics made of Lithium-Disilicate and machinable glass-ceramics with Phlogopite as basic system.  (Thanks Mr Wikipedia for that last bit)

Collecting Fire King is a relatively new, but rapidly growing hobby.  Record prices have been paid for some of their coffee mugs over the past couple years.  Mugs that have previously been unavailable to collectors are turning up at auctions, antique stores, collector’s shows, and especially on the Internet daily.  Because collecting mugs is a new hobby, there is little information and resources for collectors.  Many mainstream restaurants hold a special spot in collector’s hearts.  For example, Burger King, McDonald’s, White Castle, Taco Tico, and many other franchised restaurants command top dollar when they come up for sale.  There are also a lot of Japanese websites that offer the mugs as the Japanese love Fire-King (vintage in general is hot at the moment in Japan).

Fire King was marked on the bottom of Anchor Hocking’s products from the early 1940’s to the early 1980’s.  After the early 1980’s, Anchor Hocking simply marked their products with an Anchor and dropped the term Fire King.

Anchor Hocking made the term “oven proof” a household name in their day. Unfortunately, the invention of the dishwasher and its harsh conditions were the detrimental demise to many of their wonderful items.  As mentioned earlier, Fire-King is not designed for dishwasher use which can dull its original lustre and remove any applied paint decorations.  Collectors need to take this in account when adding new items to their collection.  Keep in mind that Fire King was meant for daily use, and so pieces may show signs of wear. Take this into consideration when you are purchasing pieces – are they for your own personal use or for resale? And also be careful about how you maintain it – wash the pieces by hand (otherwise the glass will end up etched), and avoid placing it in the microwave (remember, microwaves were not invented at the time of Fire King manufacture). If you can follow these steps, you’ll enjoy your Anchor Hocking Fire King glassware for yet another several generations.

Fire-King was originally produced in the 1940s for everyday use, rather than display.  They were often sold or given away as gifts in bags of flour as a promotional item or given away at petrol stations.  Fire-King could also be purchased at your local grocery and hardware stores.   Their lines included bowls, casseroles, cups, plates, serving platters, creamers, vases and more.   The idea behind these dishes was that they would be multipurpose – bake your casserole in the covered dish and use the same dish to store the leftovers. Other Anchor Hocking Fire King products included ash-trays, cosmetic jars and containers, and souvenir pieces.  While it is collectible glassware, it is also quite affordable, and can purchased at many op (thrift) shops, antique or flea markets, and even garage (yard) sales.

The colors and patterns of Fire King vary widely, some of which are solid, opaque colored glass (like white, ivory, roseite (a creamy pink), jadeite (a pale green), azureite (a light blue), and turquoise.  Other lines have pastel or bright shades of colors like blue, green, and yellow, which are fired-on coatings.  Patterns on the white glass dishes included natural, geometric, and floral decals, with their best-selling patterns including primrose, forget-me-not, and wheat.  Anchor Hocking Fire King’s signature glass and pattern came to be the jadeite (known as “Jade-ite”) color and the Philbe pattern (a raised pattern found on clear, jadeite, sapphire blue, and ivory-colored glass). Also very popular from Anchor Hocking was its’ thicker, restaurant-grade dinnerware, as well as the Peach-lustre dinnerware for the home.

How can you identify an authentic Fire King piece? This can be very difficult, because while most lines are embossed on the bottom, these logos (often an anchor or script or block-letter “Fire-King”) changed over time, and were often not used at all, replaced by a sticker that could be easily removed.  These ramekins are an example of the lost sticker but can be identified by the shape.  This means that many authentic Fire King pieces do not have any embossing.  Especially when it comes to Jade-ite, the most searched-after color by Fire King collectors, imitations abound.  Many Asian-made reproductions do their best to imitate the originals, and are marked only by easily removed clear stickers to facilitate this.  It is difficult to distinguish between authentic Fire King and reproductions, especially for novices. As you become more familiar with the Anchor Hocking Fire King brand, you will become more skilled at identifying basic and then less common patterns. Be sure to check the reputation of on-line dealers, and seek the help of experienced collectors, when in doubt.

There are many decaled patterns that are very popular including Blue Mosaic, Wheat, Primrose, Fleurette, Forget Me Not and Anniversary Rose. Patterns with solid glass colors are Swirl, Sheaves of Wheat, Shell, Jane Ray, Alice, Fish Scale, Three Bands Restaurant Ware, 4000 Line and 1700 Line.  Jade-ite Restaurant Ware is most popular among some collectors. It is a creamy jade color.  Martha Stewart popularized this pattern by using it on her TV show.  Fire-King solid glass colors come in rose-ite (creamy pink), turquoise blue, azur-ite (light pale blue), white, and ivory. It can also be a fired-on coating over crystal in shades of pastel green, pastel blue, pastel peach, pastel yellow, primary orange, primary blue, primary yellow and primary green.  These fired on colors are part of the pattern Rainbow. Rainbow is not technically Fire-King, but included in the same category with most collector books. There is also a fired on Peach-Lustre color that comes in several patterns.

History of Anchor Hocking

Anchor Hocking began when Isaac J. Collins and six friends raised $8,000 to buy the Lancaster Carbon Company, Lancaster, Ohio, when it went into receivership in 1905.  The company's facility was known as the Black Cat from all the carbon dust.  Mr. Collins, a native of Salisbury, Maryland, had been working in the decorating department of the Ohio Flint Glass Company when this opportunity arose.  Unfortunately the $8,000 that was raised was not sufficient to purchase and operate the new company, so Mr. Collins enlisted the help of Mr. E. B. Good.  With a cheque for $17,000 provided by Mr. Good, one building, two day-tanks, and 50 employees, Mr. Collins was able to begin Hocking Glass Company operations at the Hocking Glass Company.

The company, named for the Hocking River near which the plant was located, made and sold approximately $20,000 worth of glassware in the first year. Production was expanded with the purchase of another day-tank. This project was funded by selling $5,000 in stock to Thomas Fulton, who was to become the Secretary-Treasurer.  Just when everything seemed to be going well, tragedy struck the company in 1924 when the Black Cat was reduced to ashes by a tremendous fire. Mr. Collins and his associates were not discouraged. They managed to raise the funding to build what is known as Plant 1 on top of the ashes of the Black Cat.  This facility was specifically designed for the production of glassware. Later in that same year, the company also purchased controlling interest in the Lancaster Glass Company (later called Plant 2) and the Standard Glass Manufacturing Company with plants in Bremen and Canal Winchester, Ohio.

The development of a revolutionary machine that pressed glass automatically would save the company when the Great Depression hit. The new machine raised production rates from 1 item per minute to over 30 items per minute. When the 1929 stock market crash hit, the company responded by developing a 15-mold machine that could produce 90 pieces of blown glass per minute. This allowed the company to sell tumblers "two for a nickel" and survive the depression when so many other companies vanished.

Hocking Glass Company entered the glass container business in 1931 with the purchase of 50% of the General Glass Company, which in turn acquired Turner Glass Company of Winchester, Indiana. In 1934, Hocking and its subsidiary developed the first one-way beer bottle.  Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation came into existence on December 31, 1937 when the Anchor Cap and Closure Corporation and its subsidiaries merged with the Hocking Glass Company.  The Anchor Cap and Closure Corporation had closure plants in Long Island City, New York and Toronto, Canada, and glass container plants in Salem, New Jersey and Connellsville, Pennsylvania.

Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation continued to expand into other areas of production such as tableware, closure and sealing machinery, and toiletries and cosmetic containers through the expansion of existing facilities and the purchase of Baltimore, Maryland based Carr-Lowry Glass Company and the west coast Maywood Glass. In the 1950s, the corporation established the Research and Development Center in Lancaster, Ohio, purchased the Tropical Glass and Container Company in Jacksonville, Florida, and built a new facility in San Leandro, California in 1959.  In 1962, the company built a new glass container plant in Houston, Texas while also adding a second unit to the Research and Development Center, known as the General Development Laboratory. In 1963 Zanesville Mold Company in Ohio became an Anchor Hocking Corporation subsidiary. The company designed and manufactured mold equipment for Anchor Hocking.

The word "Glass" was dropped from the company's name in 1969 because the company had evolved into an international company with an infinite product list. They had entered the plastic market in 1968 with the acquisition of Plastics Incorporated in St. Paul, Minnesota. They continued to expand their presence in the plastic container market with the construction of a plant in Springdale, Ohio. This plant was designed to produce blown mold plastic containers.   Anchor Hocking Corporation entered the lighting field in September 1970 with the purchase of Phoenix Glass Company in Monaca, Pennsylvania.  They also bought the Taylor, Smith & Taylor Company, located in Chester, West Virginia, to make earthenware, fine stoneware, institutional china dinnerware, and commemorative collector plates.

Over the years, several changes occurred in the company. Phoenix Glass Company was destroyed by fire on 15 July 1978, Shenango China (new Castle, Pennsylvania) was purchased in 28 March 1979, Taylor, Smith & Taylor was sold on 30 September 1981, and on 1 April 1983 the company's decided to divest its interest in the Glass Container Division to an affiliate of the Wesray Corporation. The Glass Container Division was to be known as the Anchor Glass Container Corporation with seven manufacturing plants and its office in Lancaster, Ohio.

The Newell Corporation acquired the Anchor Hocking Corporation on 2 July 1987. With this renewed influx of capital, several facilities were upgraded and some less profitable facilities were either closed or sold. The Clarksburg, West Virginia, facility was closed in November 1987, Shenango China was sold on 22 January 1988, and Carr-Lowry Glass was sold on 12 October 1989. Today, Anchor Hocking enjoys the financial backing and resources as one of the 18 decentralized Newell Companies that manufacture and market products in four basic markets: house wares, hardware, home furnishings, and office products. You may recognize such familiar Newell Companies such as Intercraft, Levolor Home Fashions, Anchor Hocking Glass, Goody Products, Anchor Hocking Specialty Glass, Sanford, Stuart Hall, Newell Home Furnishings, Amerock, BerzOmatic, or Lee/Rowan.

Earlier in 2001, Newell Corporation entered into negotiations with Libbey Glass for the purchase and transfer of Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation.  After months of negotiations, Libbey Glass withdrew their offer in the midst of serious objections by the federal government. Newell Corporation eventually sold several of its businesses, including Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation, to Global Home Products (GHP). GHP is owned by Cerberus Capital Management, which specializes in turning around underperforming brands.  Despite all cost-cutting efforts in this weak economy, Global Home Products and Anchor Hocking filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2006 and the Anchor Hocking assets were sold to a unit of Monomoy Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm.  The future of Anchor Hocking is uncertain at this point in time.

What is NOT Fire-King?

The obvious answer is anything not made by the Anchor Hocking Company.  There were several companies producing similar objects, such as Federal, Glasbake, Hazel Atlas, Libbey, Galaxy, and the Mexican company — Termocrisa, which made some of the better copies of both the shapes and the pattern themes.  The less obvious answer is that any Anchor Hocking product made after the company ended the Fire-King embossing on the bottom is not Fire-King.  These include the anchor symbol inside a rounded cornered rectangle, are made after about 1979ish and do not have the words Fire-King on bottom.  These are simply Anchor Hocking, though many are seeing increased collector interest.

The importance of learning the markings should be clear, but since almost all Fire-King items are marked, but still it is imperative that the collector learn the specific shapes in order to distinguish from a distance from other makers, especially since some of their mugs have brought record prices in 2004.